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For beer lovers, a week to celebrate

Eighty pounds of porcine meat will blaze at a Boca Raton eatery come noon this Sunday, while patrons wait to get their share of Cuban-style roasted pork, likely kicking back a beer sent from Tampa.

The occasion will be the Sybarite Pig's caja china roast and Cigar City Brewing tap takeover, part of the second annual South Florida Beer Week. The festival, running Jan. 19 through 26, is a localized interpretation of American Craft Beer Week, observed in beer towns nationally in May. For the homegrown effort, beer geeks in the industry rally their connections for a week-long bacchanal bringing Florida beers to bars from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach counties.

"Although we love ACBW, this one is a little closer to home, closer to the heart," says John Linn, a rep for Brown Distributing, the company that handles most of the state's craft beer.

Increasing interest in good beer enticed craft-beer lovers in South Florida to open grub houses that marry food and suds. So this year's SFBW events include the Pig's feast, a beer pairing at a new Brickell gastropub, and a pub crawl taking off from a new Hollywood bar.

Daniel Naumko opened his Sybarite Pig less than a month ago in the old Wicked Awesome space in West Boca. He plans to sell only 50 tickets, $30, for Sunday's pig roast, but will offer the pub's regular menu — including house-made charcuterie, brined meats and beer-infused desserts — for the 51st patron and everyone thereafter. Ticket-holders will get an all-you-can-eat plate of pork and a Cigar City draft, or two bottles from a SFBW selection.

Naumko's getting three specialty kegs from Cigar City Brewing, only two of which were confirmed at presstime: Brengle's Double IPA and Kalevipoeg Baltic Porter.

Then, on Tuesday, Michael Sullivan's 2-month-old OTC in Brickell will extend its happy-hour specials, so 11 beers on tap will cost $5 all day. The happy hour complements OTC's craft-beer pairing, providing discounts on items such as barbecue pork sliders cooked in Tequesta Brewing's Gnarly Barley.

The North Palm brewery's flagship ale will be on tap alongside Cigar City's Maduro Brown and Inlet Brewing's Monk in the Trunk. Some out-of-state beers will be available.

"I used to work in restaurants in New York," Sullivan says. "We want to create that same feel that I was used to there, and bring it down here."

So New York will be on tap during locals' week at OTC, by way of Brewery Ommegang and Blue Point Brewing Company.

Thursday night's pub crawl through downtown Hollywood will start at 6:30 at the Tipsy Boar, a new bar from the family behind Fulvio's 1900 and Sardelli's Italian restaurants. It opened this month, carrying 40 drafts and 36 bottles of craft and big-label beers, but will spotlight Cigar City for the crawl. Participants who register and donate $10 to the Covenant House will receive a pint glass and be entered in raffles for beer swag.

For the duration of the pub crawl, the Tipsy Boar will knock $2 off all its drafts, which include CCB's Sugar Plum Brown Ale, Minaret ESB and the flagship Jai Alai IPA.

It's probably a good idea to catch one of the pub's burgers or a duck-confit pizza before moving on to the Native Florida Tap Room, where Native beers will pour. The SFBW mob will pass by Hollywood cornerstone Whiskey Tango for Holy Mackerel's brews. The Big Easy will feature Tequesta beers, and Mickey Byrne's will drop the Irish charm for some Due South brews out of Boynton Beach.

South Florida's new beer venues shine plenty of light on meaty foods and Tampa's craft giant, but some older bars are turning to North Florida for their Beer Week brews.

The Funky Buddha's Massive Florida Tap Takeover, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, will bring Jacksonville's Engine 15 and Gainesville's Swamp Head to the bar, which will also pour its Buddha brands.

The Laser Wolf, Riverside Market, Coffee District and Miami's new hipster bar Gramps are also on board with the North Florida repping. And after a week of happy hours, beer pairings and tap takeovers at these and other bars, the northern brewers will join South Florida's beermakers at the Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival 1 p.m. next Saturday .

Jupiter's fest will offer tasters more than 100 beers, and it was South Florida's only craft-intensive beer festival until about two years ago. Brown's Linn says the presence of small Florida breweries from outside the tricounty area is a big deal for beer people, because the businesses don't often brew enough to step outside their local markets.

"Most of the breweries are at capacity," he says. "They [usually] only have the business of their local area. The key is getting their beer down here and coming up with good events."

For a full list of Beer Week events and ticket information, read the Lush Life's event recommendations.

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